Grape and Raisin Toxicity
Have you heard through the grapevine that grapes are toxic to dogs? They certainly are - along with their dried counterpart, the raisin. This tiny delicious fruit may appear harmless, but it can cause severe toxicity when ingested by your dog.
Although the mechanism of action of toxicity is poorly understood, the type of grape or raisin does not appear to matter. Toxicity is not always dose-dependent, and clinical signs can occur with even small ingestion of the common fruit. Because they are four times more concentrated, fewer raisins need to be ingested to reach toxic levels compared to grapes.
Grapes and raisins can cause severe gastrointestinal upset and kidney damage. The most common symptom is vomiting, usually within just a few hours of ingestion. Next, your dog may develop diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, abdominal pain, and lethargy. Severe toxicity without medical intervention can lead to acute renal failure, in which case the kidneys shut down and no longer produce urine.
Treatment goals include preventing toxin absorption (via induction of vomiting and administration of toxin-binding substances) and minimizing damage to the kidneys (via intravenous fluid therapy to maintain perfusion to the kidneys). Prognosis depends on the quantity of grapes or raisins ingested, the severity of illness upon initiation of treatment, and response to treatment.
If you suspect your dog has ingested raisins or grapes, please seek veterinary care immediately. Grapes and raisins have only been proven toxic to dogs. Because their toxicity is poorly understood, however, it is important to keep grapes and raisins out of reach of all household pets. What are some alternative household treat options? Bananas, apples (seedless), and carrots are safe treats you can share with your pet!